New Delhi: Union Home Minister Amit Shah met Power Minister R K Singh and Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi on Monday, amid reports of the ongoing coal shortage in the country, officials said.
During the hour-long meeting, the three ministers were believed to have discussed the availability of coal to power plants and the current power demands. Top officials of the power and coal ministries attended the meeting.
The meeting comes in the wake of several states warning of a possible power crisis due to the shortage of coal supply to power plants, officials said.
According to data, power consumption of 3,900 MU on October 8 was the highest this month so far (from October 1 to 9), and this also became a cause of concern during the ongoing coal shortage.
On Saturday, Tata Power arm Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd (DDL), which operates in north and northwest Delhi, had sent phone messages to its consumers saying, “Due to limited coal availability in generation plants across the north, power supply scenario between 2-6 pm is at critical level. Kindly use electricity judiciously. Be a responsible citizen. Inconvenience caused is regretted - Tata Power-DDL.” This was the fallout of coal shortage at power plants in a year when the country produced record amounts of coal, but rains hit the movement of the fuel from mines to power generation units, impacting electricity production in many states, including Gujarat, Punjab, Rajasthan, Delhi and Tamil Nadu.
Another factor that has contributed to the present crisis is power plants, that used imported coal to generate electricity, have either curtailed generation or completely stopped, as a spurt in international energy prices has made it difficult for them to meet the commitments to states at a particular rate.
The ministry of power, in a statement issued on Saturday had said, “It was noted that on 7th October, 2021 total dispatch of coal by Coal India limited (CIL) touched 1.501 MT, thereby reducing the gap between consumption and actual supply.” The ministry of coal and the CIL have assured that they are making the best efforts to increase dispatch to the power sector to 1.6MT per day in the next three days and thereafter, try to touch 1.7MT per day. It is likely to help in the gradual build-up of coal stocks at power plants in the near future. The coal supply, as well as the consequent power situation is likely to improve.
According to data, the peak power demand met or the highest electricity supply in a day touched 172.41GW on October 8. This is the highest peak power demand met from October 1 to 9.
The data also showed that the peak power demand met slowed to 170.03 GW on Saturday, October 9, indicating that the power demand is moderating with the onset of autumn.
The latest available data of the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) showed that coal stocks at power plants on October 7 were not adequate, as there were 16 plants with a cumulative capacity of 16,880MW which had zero days’ worth of the dry fuel.
Besides, as many as 30 plants with 37,345MW capacity had coal for just one day and 18 plants with 23,450MW capacity had coal for two days as of October 7.
There were 19 plants with 29,160MW capacity which had coal for three days and nine plants with 7,864MW capacity had coal for four days.
Six plants with 6,730MW capacity had coal stock for five days, while 10 plants with 11,540MW capacity had coal for six days.